The Philippines is keen on participating in more infrastructure projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup preparations and Qatar National Vision 2030, among other initiatives, an official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has said.
“We have a lot of major construction firms looking into projects in Qatar, and we want to explore that area as well to promote the Filipino construction industry here so that our companies can participate in infrastructure projects in the country,” said lawyer Ruth B Castelo, who is the DTI’s undersecretary for Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business Group.
Castelo, who was one of the resource persons of the one-day ‘Philippine Trade and Tourism Conference – Qatar' held in Doha Friday, said a major contractor in the Philippines is already participating in a construction project in Lusail City. Around 150 Filipino workers are involved in the project, she said.
“If they were able to qualify for an infrastructure project in Qatar, I’m sure all the other bigger construction companies in the Philippines can do that as well,” Castelo told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the conference.
During the conference, Castelo spoke on the Philippine government’s ‘Build, build, build’ flagship infrastructure plan, which aims to transform the Philippines into a high middle-income economy by 2022.
“The Philippines’ construction sector needs 2.5mn workers to address the country’s ‘golden age’ of infrastructure where P8.7tn ($168.8bn) would be spent on flagship projects under this administration’s ‘Build, build, build’ programme. The amount does not include regular projects of other implementing agencies,” she said.
Supporting food security
Ruth B Castelo, who is the Department of Trade and Industry's undersecretary for Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business Group, Friday said the Philippines' food production companies could play a role in Qatar’s food security programme.
She made the statement while speaking on the Gulf crisis and Qatar’s bid to be self-sufficient in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.
“The manufacturing and production sectors in the Philippines are willing to export a variety of products that could support Qatar’s food security programme. We have all the necessary food production facilities back in the Philippines,” she added.
She also presented a video that declared the Philippines as ‘Asia’s rare bright spot’, as well as investment opportunities in the manufacturing, micro-small and medium-sized enterprises, startup and construction sectors, and how for overseas Filipino workers can participate in those projects.
Asked about developments on the investment protection and promotion agreement signed by the Philippine and Qatari governments in April this year, Castelo said the move would help boost Philippine exports to Qatar.
Earlier this year, DTI secretary Ramon M Lopez and HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani signed the agreement in the presence of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Philippine President Rodrigo R Duterte during the latter’s first state visit to Qatar.
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